"Lil Wayne is still in prison at the time of writing. Before he went in, he recorded a few tracks for an interim album to be dropped on his birthday, and the result is the strangely enjoyable "I Am Not a Human Being." It is neither an album nor a mixtape: in fact, it isn't even like a "Lost Tapes." It is just a collection of original (legally, that is) songs, a few guest spots, and Wayne getting back to rapping after his largely unsuccessful "Rebirth" rock venture. It is one of the most mind-numbingly stupid rap albums in recent memory. It is also an awful lot of fun to listen to. This one can be marked as a "gift in kind" to Weezy's most devoted followers – they will love it, having been used to such a constant barrage of fresh/hijacked material from the Dreaded One. "
Canibus :: C of Tranquility :: iM Culture
as reviewed by Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez
"Canibus is an emcee that shows no quit. Perhaps the biggest mainstream "bust" in rap history, Canibus has remained resilient despite constant criticism and scrutiny. Those that label Canibus a bust are missing what a success the man has become. Despite being written off after debut and sophomore albums that failed to meet the unrealistic expectations that were placed on them, Canibus has managed to stretch his career over three decades and remains relevant and respected as an emcee. "C of Tranquility" serves as a testament to Canibus' lyrical prowess as it boasts the most impressive production line up his career. With beats from Scram Jones, DR Period, Jake One, J-Zone, Domingo, and DJ Premier, Canibus sets out to silence his critics once and for all. "C of Tranquility" is a solid album from a veteran in the rap game who seems to finally be at peace with his place in the game. "
Don Cash :: Unbreakable :: Bandcamp/URBNET Records
as reviewed by Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania
"Hailing from Canada, Don Cash is, without doubt, the strangest, most beguiling and utterly intriguing rapper I've caught wind of in a long time. His story is part hipster poster boy, part Jay Electronica, part hustler (even anti-hustler). This mixtape sounds like a complete load of bullshit for the first couple of spins, and then you can't wait to listen to it again. Cloaked in the night, sounding messy, cheap and random, "Unbreakable" has utterly achieved its objective insofar as taking someone entirely uninitiated (that would be me) and making me want to listen to Don Cash's back catalogue and, in particular, most recent album (called “Freshy Fresh” – expect a review very soon). He raps, sings, produces and has one of the coolest natural rap voices of the past few years. It does indeed take a couple of spins to adjust to his seemingly off-kilter flow, but persevere, dear Reader."http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_10_donunbreakable.html
Double Vision :: Bifocal :: No Sleep Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Move over Twin Hype, hip-hop's got a brand new genetically identical duo, and judging by their opening track they're ready to D-I-E. Double Vision's rappers go by the names Mackamillion and Mr. Mackmore, but in real life they're twin brothers Jonathan and Jarred Lindsay. From their group name to their album title, they're working with double entendre, as the cover of "Bifocal" features both rappers rocking specs. You may think you're seeing double when you see them, but odds are they'll be seeing double if they look at you without them. Is this overkill in selling the gimmick for this rap group? It would be if their publicity department sent a pair of glasses in the package. I'm not kidding though - that actually happened recently. A label sent me a pair of 3D glasses to "enhance the experience" of watching their artist's music video online. My prescription is not bifocal, but it IS real, and the idea of rocking a pair of glasses OVER my glasses has always been ass."
Gucci Mane :: The Appeal: Georgia's Most Wanted :: Asylum/Warner Bros. Records
as reviewed by Joe Howard
"I'm not going to waste any time providing background information on Radric "Gucci Mane" Davis. The majority of people reading this review are already familiar with Gucci Mane's music, and fully aware of what to expect at this point. With three major label albums to date (including this one), and four independent albums as well, Gucci Mane has a fairly extensive discography considering he debuted professionally in 2005. After being charged with murder in 2005, having those charges dropped not long afterwards, and rising to the upper echelon of the rap industry, it would be somewhat fair to consider Gucci Mane's arc somewhat of a "success story". Maybe even a "feel good story". I'm happy for the guy, he's never done anything to offend me personally, so yeah, I guess you can say that I derive some slight measure of satisfaction from his accomplishments, because I'm fully aware of the feeling of trying to succeed in the music world. God bless him. "
Bruce Haack :: Farad: The Electric Voice :: Stones Throw Records
as reviewed by Joe Howard
"I have never been, nor am I currently the type of person to describe music as being "my life". Despite the fact that music pretty much is my life, I've always felt that articulating that statement out loud would be an insult to all the other things from which I derive pleasure in this world. My friends, my family, my pets, and the places I've been during the happiest moments of my life have always made for some of the most vital components of who I am, or think I am. However, when I reflect on the most memorable and enjoyable days and nights, the first thing that comes to mind are the albums and songs that I was enjoying at the time. When I think of "Go" by Common, I remember of a cute young lady from the summer of 2005. Whenever I make my way up to Stratford, Connecticut, and enjoy the summer breeze on a park bench on Burbank Avenue, I think of "Uplifter" by 311, "Razorblade Salvation" by Jedi Mind Tricks, or "Starry Eyed Surprise" by Paul Oakenfold." http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_10_faradelectric.htmlHe.llsent :: False Profit :: Galapagos4
as reviewed by Susan 'susiQ' Kim
"Chicago's He.llsent is yet another emcee than has been churned out by the infamous Galapagos4 label, but is a veteran emcee with extensive years behind the mic. Early on, his passion for emceeing flourished as he was fortunate to team up with Qwazaar of Typical Cats, even before Typical Cats had released their debut EP. The duo formed the group Outerlimitz and with their fervor for political rights, they released their debut album, "Wrong Actions for Right Reasons." In subsequent years, the duo unleashed two more albums while pursuing other projects of their own. He.llsent has since then engaged in his own endeavors and debuted a solo album, "Rainwater" in 2006. In his second solo album, "False Profit," he stays committed to an explorative journey of contemplative thought and realization as he delves deep into his inner thoughts about society and the direction of hip hop. For He.llsent, it's all about what hip hop once used be. "http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_10_falseprofit.htmlLord Infamous :: Futuristic Rowdy Bounty Hunter :: Black Rain Entertainment
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"A friend of mine recently asked me to recommend some sixties jazz to her. It was a daunting question. Where do you start? There are so many great jazz records from that period, it's hard to pin down just a handful to begin with. You need some John Coltrane, some Miles Davis, some Ornette Coleman, some Mingus, a little Herbie Hancock for good measure, and maybe some Pharaoh Sanders and Sun Ra to round things out. What my friend should do is pick up Madlib's newest mix CD, titled "Advanced Jazz." As with all of the even-numbered volumes of Madlib's Medicine Show, it is a trip through his vinyl collection curated, by the beat konducta himself. The song titles tell you all you need to know: "Miles," "Ornette," "Pharaoh," "Herbie," "Mingus," "Ra," "Dolphy," "Ranelin,"" Deodato," "Coltrane." All are well-respected jazz musicians who made important records in the sixties and seventies. As the title suggests, the disc is a master's class in jazz."
http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_10_madlibms8.htmlMaestro Fresh-Wes :: Symphony in Effect :: LeFrak-Moelis Records/Attic Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Matt Jost
"Concept albums present difficult challenges. Not only do concept albums need to be thematically cohesive, the emcees are also asked to do something few emcees do well – act. The pressure of assuming a role for an entire album is something most emcees do not take well. Metty the Dertmerchant and Evil Ebenezer look to change that with "By Hook or By Crook." Representing Sweatshop Union and with the help of an impressive guest list, the duo sets out to give us a "tongue and cheek commentary on the greed and ruthlessness of modern society." While one could reasonably expect a CD full of swagger and ballin' spoofs, Metty and Ebenezer instead give us a balanced, if somewhat inconsistent, take on social commentary. The intro "Recession Proof" mixes a mellow singing with money-oriented vocal samples and sets the tone nicely for the rest of the CD. "By Hook or By Crook" finds Evil Ebenezer doing his best to emulate the money focused, criminal minded lifestyle" "In 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan took the rap game by storm with "Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)," as the supergroup of emcees brought a raw and gritty style to the East Coast hip-hop scene that was sorely lacking any hardcore influence until then. 17 years later, the Watchmen are trying to revive the rough and tough style that Wu-Tang embodied by going all out with a 36 track double LP. Hailing from Florida, the five-man group – consisting of BlackMask, The Cipher, PRO, 7th 7ign, and Prox – blends the old school Wu-Tang style with a more polished new school sound that resonates throughout the album. The Wu-Tang Clan influences are present from the very beginning of the LP, as the intro track is a dialogue sampled from a kung-fu movie that begins with "So you are the new student." The first real track, "Assassins," features longtime Wu-Tang affiliate Cappadonna as well as another kung-fu sample and an eerie, high-pitched synth that sounds like something RZA would have used on "Wu-Tang Forever."" http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_10_wutangwatchmen.html
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